7187 Technology and Production of Plant-Based Meat Analogs with Authentic Texture

Sunday, February 19, 2012: 3:00 PM
Room 110 (VCC West Building)
KeShun Liu , USDA Agricultural Research Service, Aberdeen, ID
Extrusion cooking has been widely used in modern food industry due to its versatility, high productivity, energy efficiency and low cost.  Well-known applications include breakfast cereals, pasta, snacks, confectionery products, and textured vegetable proteins.   Most applications take place at low moisture (12-35%)-high temperature (LMHT) conditions.  Resulting products undergo rapid moisture loss and volume expansion upon emerging from an extruder.  A relatively recent extrusion technology features uses of twin screw extruders under high moisture (50-80%)-high temperature (HMHT) conditions.  Unlike LMHT extrusion, HMHT extrusion, in conjunction with using a cooling die, reduces or prevents viscous dissipation of energy and product expansion at die outlets.   An emerging use of HMHT extrusion is for fiberizing vegetable proteins into meat analogs.  During the process, ingredients are mixed and hydrated, proteins are subjected to thermo-mechanical treatments and become denatured under HMHT conditions in the screw-barrel assembly.  Denatured proteins then undergo gelling and fiberization while traveling through a cooling die and emerge as a wet muscle-like product at the die outlet.  Further innovation in the area has led to production of plant-based meat analogs having appearance, taste and mouth-feel of a cooked meat.  They also provide similar dietary protein levels as conventional meat, but without cholesterol and saturated fat issues associated with the latter.  Companies in many countries are investing in HMHT extrusion technology and a few have commercialized their products.   The technology provides a promising strategy to increase production efficiency of protein foods while mitigating environmental impacts associated with traditional, animal-dependent meat production systems.